Stick Ladies Part 1

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Most of this project involved making stick ladies. These I will show you today are derived from the ones I did in the past, which were all in one piece:

I gathered a selection of branches that I thought would be suitable for bodies. I was looking for something a little thicker than the ones I had used in the past.

And I decided to make the new ones with arms. Accordingly I collected sticks of a smaller diameter than the body materials I was looking for.

I peeled or cut off any bark, cut all the sticks into shorter lengths, and ran them through the dishwasher to get rid of any bugs. I let them dry outside for about a week.

And…the arms. I cut them to a good size to fit the figures, first drilling a hole through them and then nailing them on to the body. By drilling first, I reduced my chanced of splitting the wood when I nailed.


Then I got busy with my woodburning set and gave them faces and clothing. I made bases for them from small blocks of wood that I painted black and attached the two pieces with dowel screws.

Here are the results:

Stick ladies group 2 6-20

These two figures are about 12″ tall in total (including the “legs” and base). Here are some detail photos.

Lady #1:

And here is Lady #2:

I like how the natural curve of the wood gives the lady figures a posture and an attitude.

28 thoughts on “Stick Ladies Part 1

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. They are fun to make. The wood gives me the idea of how they should look but there is also a lot of serendipity (and how the woodburning tool goes…)

  1. Diane

    Love that you ran them through the dishwasher!! Hey, you have given me an idea to maybe use a wood burning tool for mark making on woodblocks. Thanks!!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      The dishwasher seemed it would kill anything that might emerge, sorry to do it, but, I did not want to import anything into the house. I also try to pick sticks that are past the just fallen stage but not insect eaten, pretty easy to tell.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      You can also make people by painting the sticks (good for when the wood is very patterned or rough. I did quite a few of these in the past and don’t know why I stopped, guess I needed a rest, but now…and then maybe I could make some that need clothes…who knows where this will go… First step though, is getting more sticks!

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          I predict you will find yourself walking along, saying, I’ll just go a little further…because there is that allure…at least for me. I would recommend taking a bag along to put them in. They can add up. I have seen larger branches I really wished I could have brought my saw along to cut to a better size for me to carry, but…I just don’t think that will go over well in the parks I mostly get the wood from…

  2. petrujviljoen

    Love the limbed women! I hauled out the 3 tiny stone heads I mentioned. One got badly damaged during the move so reworked her. Far from mounting them though I remember the how-to.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      The day will come…and there will be three new beings created! I am anticipating them with enthusiasm and interest. As for these stick ladies, it is so easy to imagine new ideas for them. (Though I wonder if my constructions skills can be up to them…)

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          Definitely educating myself as I try this kind of thing. I am not used to working in 3D like this and making things stand up, hold together, etc. Plus there is that whole learning to use the drill thing. Hint: make sure the bit is sharp. I struggled for a while with one bit and then demonstrated to my husband, saying, what am I doing wrong…? and he said…oops, it’s the bit’s fault. Motto: learn your tools! That is what I am doing, too.

  3. Laura (PA Pict)

    These are fantastic. I love that they are a completely different medium and approach to creating but that there is a shared DNA ancestry with your clay people.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I am finding my way with these. I felt more confident with my tools and that helped me be more expressive, I think. In all my clay figurines I want to show women being strong, and confident, and can do people. That is what I hope for.

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